Beating the Odds: An Anecdotal Memoir of Paramount and Abd TV

Leonard Goldenson, Author, Marvin Wolf, With
Leonard Goldenson, Author, Marvin Wolf, With Scribner Book Company $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19055-6
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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Now 84, Goldenson is retired from active management of the ABC-TV network, sold to Capital Cities in 1985. When he took over the network in 1951, it had newly merged with Paramount and was considered all but an industry joke, a distant fourth in a field of four. But thanks to Goldenson's willingness to experiment, to his light hand on the rudder, and to his ability to spot talent, he made ABC more than competitive, leading it to the top for several years. This story of the battle to rise, told with freelancer Wolf, is supplemented by dozens of recollections from others who were involved: Bob Hope, Roone Arledge, Barbara Walters. Most striking is Goldenson's candor; although a stickler for quality, he doesn't pretend that out-and-out excellence is the mission of TV. ``Motion pictures and television,'' he opines, ``are a hokum business,'' and estimates that 40% of television programming is pure junk. The book is important reading for students of media history. (Feb.)
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